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Olive Garden Knock-Off: Tilapia Piccatta

Dish shown on the Livliga Just Right Bariatric Set plate.

Olive Garden and I have a very fragile relationship.

But I do have to admit, it’s been getting better. There used to be zero dishes I could order straight off the menu (keep in mind I’m nine years post-op folks). Nowadays there are a few, or at least enough that I now have an Olive Garden Eating Guide available.

But lemme tell you how my life is set up. If I find a dish at a place like Olive Garden that I love? I’m never ordering anything else! Nope.

Quiet as it’s kept, I’m sort of a creature of habit. Sure I have plenty of recipes on this site. Notice that I tend to stay within certain realms of ingredients and I tend to expand on certain dishes I love (hence the cabillionty-seven cheesecake inspired recipes on this site!). Especially at Olive Garden, which I don’t frequent, I just don’t see the point of choosing anything else when I know I have a dish that I like and that works for my plan.

Such is the case with their Tilapia Piccata. It’s a delicious, lemony fish with garlic and capers. It comes with Parmesan crusted zucchini planks (or what I’d call “lasagna zoodles“) and…NO NOODLES!

Me and noodles? Not friends. Haven’t been since surgery.

For this recipe, I started with Melissa D’Arabian’s (Food Network…$10 dinners lady…) recipe and went from there.

So here’s the deal with this post. It’s a work in progress. I keep wanting to get process shots for you guys (because I actually make this at least once a month now that I know how) but something always comes up or goes wrong. Sigh.

I’ll be adding process photos later, but for now I need you guys to know a few pivotal things:

  1. I usually use frozen tilapia filets from Aldi. They are very affordable.
  2. Capers are usually in whatever aisle olives are in at the supermarket. If all else fails, go to the imported food section but I highly recommend that you do not skip the capers. They sorta make this dish.
  3. You can use flour or cornstarch for this recipe. It’s to thicken the sauce. If you don’t thicken the sauce, it will be watery. I’ve tested this recipe several times and in this version I use the absolute least amount of flour you can get away with.
  4. There won’t be tons of sauce. It’s basically just for spooning on top of the fish. Also…you’ll see I didn’t use white wine in my sauce. I instead used Champagne vinegar, which gave it a bit more pop. I compensated with a bit more fat to tone it down. But if you want to use cooking wine, feel free to use the same amount that I used in vinegar and you should be good to go.
  5. Aaaaaand, as always, no, I’m not giving you the nutrition info. Here’s why.

As for the zucchini…I chose to do rounds and not planks. Mostly because I can do that with a knife instead of having to use a mandolin slicer (or trying to slice planks by hand, which has more than once resulted in injury!) but your mileage may vary. There’s also an little heirloom cherry tomato medley there because I like color on my plate!

My only note on the sides is that I did not deep fry the zucchini. Instead I sprayed a pan generously with nonstick. I also chose to use Egg Beaters instead of eggs for the dredging, mostly because I invested my per-meal fat allowance on the fish because the flavor is enhanced from the fat used. Your mileage may also vary!

Lastly, I just wanted to point out how QUICK this meal is to make. If you thaw our your fish ahead of time, this can be raw-to-table in less than 30 minutes. Which is probably less time than if you’d actually ordered it from Olive Garden and you’re saving a few calories and bunch of money.

Win-win? I say, yes. Now go…make this!

Olive Garden Knock-Off: Tilapia Piccatta
Print Recipe
Bariatric Foodie's take on Tilapia Piccata is a little bit lighter than the original, definitely cheaper than Olive Garden!
    Servings Prep Time
    2 servings 10 minutes
    Cook Time
    15 minutes
    Servings Prep Time
    2 servings 10 minutes
    Cook Time
    15 minutes
    Olive Garden Knock-Off: Tilapia Piccatta
    Print Recipe
    Bariatric Foodie's take on Tilapia Piccata is a little bit lighter than the original, definitely cheaper than Olive Garden!
      Servings Prep Time
      2 servings 10 minutes
      Cook Time
      15 minutes
      Servings Prep Time
      2 servings 10 minutes
      Cook Time
      15 minutes
      Ingredients
      For the Tilapia
      For the Parmesan crusted zucchini
      Servings: servings
      Instructions
      Make the Tiliapia
      1. Set a skillet over medium heat and allow it to get hot, then spray generously with non-stick cooking spray.
      2. Season the fish on both sides with salt and pepper and place inside the hot pan. Cook about 2 minutes on each side, or until fish is done through. Remove from pan.
      3. Drop the heat to low and add the flour and butter and whisk until it simmers and begins to thicken. Add the Champagne vinegar (or wine) along with the lemon juice and garlic and continue to whisk for 2-3 minutes.
      4. Add the capers last and cook them just a minute or so. Taste your mixture. It should be very bright but not so much as to make you pucker! If it does, add just a little dash (about a tsp.) of milk to the mixture to calm it down. Or you can add more butter if that's your thing!
      5. Place fish on plates and spoon desired amount of sauce on top.
      Make the zucchini
      1. Place cheese in one bowl, eggs in another.
      2. Dredge zucchini rounds first in cheese, then in egg, then cheese again..
      3. Set a skillet on medium heat until it is hot, then spray generously with nonstick cooking spray. Place dredged zucchini in pan allow to cook about 2-3 minutes on each side. Do not flip early or the crust will not have formed and it will stick to the pan instead of onto your zucchini!
      4. Drain the zucchini on a paper towel until ready to serve.
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